The Parliament today passed the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016, seeking to prohibit employment of children below 14 years in any "profession" but allows "home-based work", such as helping their families in forests, agricultural fields and small family-run units with the Lok Sabha giving its nod.
Employing a below 14 year child in any occupation or processes will now invite an imprisonment of up to two years.
'The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill' makes employment of children below 14 years as cognizable offence for employers and provides for penalty for parents.
The Bill defines children between 14-18 years as adolescents and lays down that they should not be employed in any hazardous occupations and processes. This bill was passed by Rajya Sabha on July 19.
It provides for enhanced punishment for violators. The penalty for employing a child has been increased to imprisonment between 6 months and two years (from 3 months to one year) or a fine of Rs 20,000 to Rs 50,000 (from Rs 10,000-20,000) or both.
The second time offence will attract imprisonment of one year to three years from the earlier 6 months and two years.
According to provisions of the Bill, no child should be employed in any occupation or process except where he or she helps his family after school hours or helps his family in fields, home based work, forest gathering or attends technical institutions during vacations for the purpose of learning.
Labour and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said the bill is a "historic" and "landmark" legislation which seeks to totally prohibit children below 14 years to indulge in all occupation and processes except where the child helps his family after school hours.
The Bill has proposed stricter punishment and higher monetary penalty, he said, adding it is going to be deterrent and violation would be made a cognisable offence.
(With PTI inputs)